MARK BUTLER MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND AGEING
MEMBER FOR HINDMARSH
SHAYNE NEUMANN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE PERSONNEL
MEMBER FOR BLAIR
MILTON DICK MP
MEMBER FOR OXLEY
LABOR WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR LOCAL RESIDENTS TO SEE A GP
An Albanese Labor Government will make it easier for people across Ipswich, including rural towns and the Karana Downs area, to see a GP.
If elected, Labor will expand the overseas trained and bonded doctor access to Medicare, ensuring more GPs work in outer suburban and regional centres such as Ipswich and Karana Downs, as is the case through the Somerset Region.
Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler said that Labor will do this by designating all of Ipswich and Karana Downs / Mount Crosby (and all those classified as Modified Monash Model (MMM) 2 areas) as a Distribution Priority Areas (DPA) for these GPs. The catchments affected are Ipswich, Springfield-Redbank and Rosewood.
“Access to GP services shouldn’t be reserved for those that live in our biggest cities,” Mr Butler said.
“Over eight long years, the Morrison-Joyce Government has repeatedly cut and undermined Medicare, and in 2019 Scott Morrison cut access of outer-metro and regional Australia to bonded and overseas trained doctors, making GP shortages much worse.
“After eight long years of cuts and neglect, you just can’t trust Scott Morrison with Medicare.”
Local GPs gave critical evidence to the recent Senate Inquiry into GP shortages saying “It is the strong belief of this practice that the classification as non-DPA has significantly hindered recruitment efforts.
“With more GPs, the practice could provide bulk billing services to the region of Ipswich seven days a week, after hours care, have greater management of our chronic disease and mental health and re-participate in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.”
Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said he has been fighting the classification inequities for many years.
“There is a critical lack of doctors across Ipswich, in Karana Downs and throughout the Somerset Region,” Mr Neumann said.
“Local GPs have been telling me for the past few years that the Morrison Government’s changes to the classification system and Medicare rebate freeze have made it much harder to get new GPs to their practices.
“COVID has exacerbated the issue, with patients being turned away from GP clinics, while older GPs are forced to come out of retirement or delay retirement, just to meet the demand.
“I want to thank the local GPs who have been working tirelessly to support our communities and who have taken time to meet with me and outline the issues affecting their practices and raise their concerns.”
Federal Member for Oxley, Milton Dick, whose electorate takes in about 30 percent of Ipswich, said out-of-pocket costs to see a GP have risen about 43 per cent across Oxley and Blair.
“I hear time and time again from local residents in Ipswich that they can’t get into a GP,” Mr Dick said.
“I am thrilled to let Ipswich resident know that Labor has a plan to fix this.
“People through this western corridor can always trust Labor to protect Medicare – a system Labor created – and to put their health first.”
Quotes attributable to Dr Cathryn Hester, Principal Colleges Crossing Family Practice (Karana Downs); RACGP Qld Deputy Chair; Member REC Funding and Health Service Reform (07 3201 2010; 0429 626 548)
“General practice is the backbone of the Australian Healthcare System.
“We care for our communities through thick and thin.
“This is especially true over the last two years, which has seen General Practice deliver more COVID vaccinations, more COVID testing and more COVID care in the community than all other healthcare providers combined.
“But we have achieved this all while continuing our usual patient care.
“We do this because we care for our communities.
“But General Practice is facing a crisis of workforce and funding shortages.
“We will not be able to continue caring for our communities unless action is taken.
“It will become harder and harder for communities to access General Practice care unless the workforce and funding shortages are addressed.
“It is time to care for the health of our communities; it is time to care about General Practice.”